17 July 2008

Musings for a Summer's Day

Some small thoughts generated from my wanderings through digital environs as of late...

  • Hugh wrote about his decision to blog under his own name and how that may have influenced some self-censorship on his part. I applaud his decision, but it made me wonder about why so many men in the edusphere are "out" and why so many women use pseudonyms. Of the education related blogs on my sidebar, only five (out of 20) are women who use their own names. For men, 10 out of 12 put themselves out there. If I broadened my look to all of my RSS feeds, the relative percentages play out, too. Does this difference say something about edublogging? About education? About our culture? I think it might, but I'm not entirely sure what that message is. Is this gender bias something that women perceive from the real world---or is there something hidden in the on-line world which makes us feel safer to mask our voices? Why is there a greater need to separate the real self from the digital one? What message is that sending to young teachers reading here and there?
  • I check my school e-mail about once a week during the summer. I know I should completely disconnect, but one never knows what sorts of offers will show up. The admin in the building recently sent out an e-mail to all staff suggesting that they pray for a student who was injured while hiking. Can state funded e-mail be used to promote a religious goal? It was not comfortable to have this in the inbox, knowing that there will be several offended people on the staff.
  • Does anyone know what's become of the Education Wonks or Mike from Education in Texas? They've been MIA for some time. And while it's not unusual for bloggers to hang up their keyboards, there is usually some indication about imminent retirement.
Speaking of MIA, I'll be away from the blog for a couple of days while I try to focus on some other work. Not to worry, I have posts in the queue; but, your comments might not appear for a day or two. I hope you're getting out to enjoy your summer, too!


Hugh O'Donnell said...

I wrote what started as a comment here, but wound up as a post on my blog...


Hugh O'Donnell said...

Just thought I'd comment on the religious concern.

Today, I received notice that a Hillsboro student had been killed in an auto accident, and the memorial for the student was listed. No prayers were requested, but the subtext was obvious. We all go to spiritual guns when bad things happen.

The request for prayers was non-denominational, right? So there's no worry about a state-endorsed religion. People, when they feel bad about a bad happening tend to fall back on whatever resources boost them back up.

Are the school people taking up a collection for the church via the school email? Any real harm done?

That's why I think a little slack is appropriate in these cases. How impersonal and unfeeling do we have to become to be "politically correct"?

And as for the people that will be offended? SG, I wouldn't give it another thought.

Ryan said...

I was wondering about both those guys, too. The Carnival of Education seems to be still going on, so I'm guessing EduWonk is out there somewhere.

There are times that I wish I had kept my anonymity on the blog, because it would be easier to talk about work-related issues that way. As is there are stories I would like to tell but can't, which is kind of a bummer.

Enjoy your time away from the computer!


Jose Vilson said...

Personally, I think you've gotta research that. I'd be interested in your findings.

Unknown said...

Interesting point about the men/women thing. Not sure why. I know I don't want to get caught. I can't write the kind of stuff I write and use my real name.

Roger Sweeny said...

"Can state funded email be used to promote a religious goal?"

The quick answer is no. The longer answer here is that the admin.'s request may well be considered non-religious, that it is basically an expression of concern, a request to remember and be concerned for the student. Even though it is stated in a religious form.

Numerous cases have challenged the "In God We Trust" on US currency. All the challenges have been unsuccessful. For example, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which includes Washington state), said this in Aronow v. United States," 432 F.2d 242 (1970)

"It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise."

I think "ceremonial" is the buzz-word here. Asking teachers to pray for an injured student would be considered to be not religious but "merely ceremonial."

The Science Goddess said...

Interesting comments---one and all. The "prayer" e-mail will likely be let go, but I think that if it becomes a habit with this guy, there will be some squawking.